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Game Preview: Chargers at Seahawks

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/6291722?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=5">Associated Press</a>

    <img width="302" height="228" title="Antonio Gates catches a pass from Philip Rivers." alt="Antonio Gates catches a pass from Philip Rivers." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/060826chargers/KC_chargers260185x219.jpg" />

    Shaun Alexander won't be named NFL MVP for the second straight season. LaDainian Tomlinson appears all but certain to succeed him for the award this season.

    Tomlinson looks to help the San Diego Chargers stretch their winning streak to nine games and end a five-game skid against Seattle when they take on Alexander and the Seahawks on Sunday.

    Tomlinson has set single-season league records with 31 touchdowns and 186 points this season, and comes into Sunday with eight straight 100-yard rushing efforts. He's also set an NFL mark with eight consecutive games with at least two touchdowns, and the league's leading rusher is 57 yards shy of his career-high and club-record 1,683, set in 2002.

    Breaking Paul Hornung's points record of 176, set in 1960, is the one that holds the most meaning for Tomlinson.

    "It stood for 40-something years. It's mind-boggling to me that this year it happens and the record falls," Tomlinson said. "Records are meant to be broken, but some records seem like they're untouchable. To me, out of all of them, that's a tremendous accomplishment, not only for me, but the guys on the offensive unit."

    Tomlinson surpassed Alexander's mark of 28 touchdowns, set last season. Alexander rushed for a league-leading 1,880 yards - also a franchise record - to help lead the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl.

    Alexander won't come close to duplicating that success in an injury-plagued season that saw him miss four games with a cracked bone in his foot. He's topped 100 yards just once in five games since returning and managed only 16 of his 73 yards in the second half of a 24-14 loss to San Francisco last Thursday, a defeat that prevented the Seahawks from clinching a third straight NFC West title.

    His 3.8-yards-per-carry average is well off his 5.1 from his MVP season.

    "I think that everybody on this team and everybody in this city always knew that our offense could carry us to the Super Bowl and last year we did it," Alexander said. "Right now, we're not."

    Seattle's five-game win streak against its former AFC West rival includes victories in all three games that Alexander and Tomlinson have played in. Alexander averaged just 71.0 yards on the ground in those contests, but Tomlinson averaged only 64.0.

    The two players finished with exactly the same number of rushing yards in two of those contests, including Seattle's 31-28 overtime victory Dec. 29, 2002 in the last meeting. Each back ran for 67 yards.

    San Diego, which has already clinched the AFC West, can secure a first-round bye with a victory or a loss by Indianapolis. The Chargers can gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a loss by Baltimore.

    Seattle still hasn't booked its place in the postseason, but will win the NFC West with a victory or a loss by San Francisco.

    The Chargers hope Tomlinson will be at full strength after he was popped in the face late in a 20-9 victory over Kansas City last week. X-rays were negative on his left temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jaw to the skull, and Tomlinson indicated he would be OK.

    "I've dealt with it before. And I'm going to continue to play," he said. "I wouldn't make a big deal about it."

    With quarterback Philip Rivers struggling, Tomlinson shouldered the load last week. His two scoring runs totaled 100 yards, including an 85-yard run in the second quarter, and he finished with 199 yards on 25 carries.

    Rivers completed just eight of 23 passes and threw two interceptions for a season-low quarterback rating of 12.4. It's still been a terrific season for the first-year starter, one of a league-high nine Chargers to make the Pro Bowl.

    "The large number is clearly attributable to the team's overall success," San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I know each of these men is grateful to be playing on this squad and point to their teammates as the main reason they received this recognition."

    The list includes linebacker Shawne Merriman, who was held without a sack for the first time in four games last week but still has 12 1/2 in 10 games. Merriman missed four games due a suspension for testing positive for steroids.

    San Diego leads the NFL with 54 sacks. Merriman and linebacker Shaun Phillips, who has 11 1/2, can become the first pair of Chargers players to record 12 sacks apiece since Lee Williams and Leslie O'Neal in 1989.

    Seattle has dropped two straight, which could cost it a chance for a first-round bye in the playoffs. The running game has been a prime reason, producing a total of only 210 yards in the last two games.

    The Seahawks led 7-3 entering the fourth quarter of Thursday's loss, but were eventually worn down by Frank Gore and the 49ers running game. Gore carried 29 times for 144 yards.

    "I thought the defense was prepared well and they played a good football game and at the end they were on the field too long," coach Mike Holmgren said. "They had to play too hard, too long."

    That defense will be called upon to stop the highest-scoring team in the league, as San Diego averages 31.8 points per game.

    Holmgren doesn't expect receiver Darrell Jackson to be available Sunday. Jackson, tied for second in the NFL with 10 touchdown receptions, missed the San Francisco game with a toe injury.

    D.J. Hackett helped fill the void with a career-high eight catches for 87 yards. He has 18 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns over his last four games.

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